Sometimes a week without a match is welcome for tired legs to recuperate. Sometimes the break allows players to refocus, especially after a busy Christmas break. But sometimes it just gets in the way of a reaction.
With so many players rested for the Birmingham draw since New Year’s Day, all these players want to do is get back out on the field and prove the doubters wrong, so it’s frustrating to be waiting a few more days. On the other hand, perhaps it’s my eternal optimism, but you get the impression that after a run of poor form, someone is going to get an absolute pasting at the hands of this Arsenal side, and with a leaky defence and an inability to hang on to decent starts, Fulham are ripe for the taking.
Fabregas and Hleb especially are due goals, but it’d be churlish to criticise either given their early season form. Adebayor still leaves some fans unconvinced despite his excellent goal return, I suppose that’s the curse of following Henry as the main man up front, particularly with Van Persie’s continual injury problems.
Elsewhere, after one of the smoothest settling in periods in Arsenal history, Bacary Sagna (fresh from being repeatedly called Willy Sagna by Sky’s moronic commentary team against Spurs, who confused him with an entirely different player) showed his maturity in an interview with Arsenal TV Online:
“Playing for Arsenal is fantastic. I try to do better game after game and I would like to thank everyone who has helped me adapt.”
“It is different for a forward because defenders are so hard on them, for me it was easier.”
“I have always had a fighting spirit and wanted to play for a great team. Now I am playing for Arsenal and want to show what I can do.”
And he is showing us exactly what he can do, with a series of consistently excellent performances this season. Nice work sir.
Diarra’s transfer to Portsmouth still appears to be going ahead, and if he’s happier being a major player in an average team rather than fighting for his place in a top one, then he isn’t ever going to make it at the top level. He’s already gone through two of the top four.
It just strikes me that, even by footballer’s standards, his vision is painfully myopic. He doesn’t want to put his international place at risk before the European Championships, but is instead willing to pull his club career apart. He’s 23, with perhaps five major international tournaments left. And how many Pompey games with the French coach see?
I think we all know Diarra’s making a big mistake, but if that’s his attitude, he’s probably best elsewhere.